Breitling has revived a classic 1950s pilot’s chronograph

As another day passes, so another watch brand has dived into its historical archive and modernised an old model. This time it’s Breitling, which has chosen to revive a striking pilot’s chronograph from the 1950s…

Poised to be offered in steel, rose gold and platinum, Breitling’s new (and somewhat clumsily named) AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition is a faithful recreation of a much-loved 1950s pilot’s chronograph from its back catalogue. Measuring a reassuringly sized 41mm, the watch’s mid-century aesthetic is bolstered by a highly domed crystal, a screwed-down 12-hour bezel, a matte dial and subtly aged lume on the hands and numerical dial markers. Beneath the surface beats the bespoke in-house B09 calibre, a hand-wound movement that forgoes a date but offers a 12-hour chronograph and 70 hours of power reserve. 

We think the watch looks fantastic, the accuracy to its forebear definitely paying dividends in the end – we especially love the dainty unguarded chronograph pushers and crown, the straight lugs and the square lume plots on the right-hand sub-dial. The way the piece has been reissued is akin to how Omega has tackled the modern versions of some of its mid-century classics such as the Seamaster 300 and the original Speedmaster. And in no way is that a bad thing. 

Each of the three AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Editions is limited to a different number and offered at a different price point: the 1953 pieces of the steel version will cost 7,900CHF each, the 253 rose gold versions will cost 21,000CHF and the 153 platinum watches will cost 39,000CHF. Deliveries commence in April. 

Photos: Breitling